A Bad Case of Stripes
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Shannon, D. (1998). A bad case of stripes. New York, NY: Blue Sky Press.
Camilla loves lima beans. Yet, she will not eat them because her friends do not like them and Camilla really wants to fit in. She also cannot decide what to wear to school and tried on numerous outfits. Suddenly, she becomes covered in stripes! The doctor tries an ointment and sends her back to school. Things get worse. She begins changing to any color that kids shout out like, “purple polka dots.” She is sent home, embarrassed, and then visited by many more doctors. Next, she begins changing shapes too and growing plant like appendages. She is dissolving into her walls when a sweet old lady arrives to help. The lady convinced Camilla to eat lima beans regardless of what anyone thinks. Camilla then miraculously gets better.
Camilla is a different person after this event. She no longer worries what other people think. She also eats all the lima beans she wants.
This is a great story with a great message. I had noticed that this book was frequently checked out by teachers and now I understand why. Children can be so self-conscious and this is addressed in this book in a fun and colorful way. I would suggest this book for a large age group of children, from Pre-K all the way to fourth grade.
Imagine it’s the first day of school and you are trying to decide what to wear. You find the perfect outfit, put it on, strut to the mirror, only to find you have STRIPES!! That’s just what happened to poor Camilla in David Shannon’s richly illustrated book Stripes . The doctor sees no reason for Camilla not to go to school, since she is not contagious. The children are utterly amazed and her principal calls her a distraction! Will Camilla have stripes forever? You’ll have to read to find out! Enjoy! Category: Adventure; Humor. Grade Level: Primary (K-3rd grade); Intermediate (4th-6th grade). 1998, Blue Sky Press. Ages 5 to 12.
Annie. (n.d.) [Review of the book A bad case of stripes, by D. Shannon]. Book Hive. Retrieved from www.bookhive.org
Camilla, who loves lima beans but won’t eat them because it’s not cool, finds that deferring to others isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, her desire to please and be popular causes her some spectacular problems: she suddenly breaks out in stripes, then stars, then turns “purple polka-dotty” at the behest of a delighted classmate. Her weird mutations, which stymie doctors and send the media into a frenzy, become more and more extreme until she finally blends into the walls of her room–her lips the red-blanketed mattress on her bed, her eyes the paintings on the wall. Will she never be herself again? Shannon’s over-the-top art is sensational, an ingenious combination of the concrete and the fantastic that delivers more than enough punch to make up for the somewhat heavy hand behind the story, and as usual, his wonderfully stereotypic characters are unforgettable. The pictures are probably enough to attract young browsers (Camilla in brilliant stripped glory graces the jacket), and the book’s irony and wealth of detail may even interest readers in higher grades. Try this for leading into a discussion on being different. Category: For the Young. 1998, Scholastic/Blue Sky, $15.95. Ages 6-8.
Zvirin, S. (1998, January 1 & 15). [Review of the book A bad case of stripes, by D. Shannon]. Booklist 94(9-10). Retrieved from www.booklistonline.com
Uses in the Library
The colorful and expressive illustrations in this book make it a wonderful read aloud story. I would include this book in a story time centered around being yourself and include other books that address independent thinking in the story time. I would discuss how we are all different. We dress different, we may talk different, and we may even like to check out different books at the library and that is perfectly normal.